“If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests.” —Kuan Chung
Our many tutors, volunteers, board members, and our office staff, enjoy the enriching experience of helping adults learn to read, perhaps, because these words of Kuan Chung are so true. Tied with this hope of reaping a hundred harvests, however, is the reality that learning to read is a complex and often difficult process that requires strength and persistence from students and their tutors.
The process is complex because learning to read does not occur in an isolated environment between student and tutor. Adults learning to read often face a wide variety of challenges and influences that are just as daunting as the tutoring process, if not more. Adults are hindered by obstacles beyond their control—work issues, health problems, financial problems, legal problems, and personal or family problems. In addition, adults may face mental and emotional obstacles such as expectations, self-esteem, level of family support, and past educational experience which can be barriers to participation.
The Literacy Center would like to thank and recognize the help from our tutors and the achievement of the adults who are learning to read and the adults who are now reading to learn. The learning process is designed to develop and improve reading skills, but the persistence and eventual success represents much more than learning to read. It represents adults overcoming the obstacles which stood in their way to a life of learning and self-fulfillment, the most plentiful and enjoyable harvest of all.
—Cory Kuhlenschmidt, 2005 Board Chair